ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has released his first Bracketology of the 2016-17 college basketball season (okay, okay, the season is still a week away), and three SEC teams are included.
Uncontroversially, Kentucky is the #1 seed in the South Region, and the #3 overall seed. Texas A&M, last year’s SEC co-champion, which made the Sweet 16 in 2016, is the #7 seed in the West Region, while Florida, which missed the tournament last year, is the #8 seed in the Midwest Region.
Much more intriguing, though, is Lunardi’s “First Four Out.” Georgia, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt are all just on the cusp of making the tournament in Lunardi’s view. This suggests that the SEC will play out much like it has in the last couple of years: one elite team (Kentucky) at the top of the conference, a couple of solid teams immediately below them, and a whole host of teams hanging around the bubble all season.
While I’d probably think the SEC will get four or even five teams in the tournament, my assessment of the league isn’t that far off Lunardi’s: if there are more than three teams in the tournament, a couple of them will end up among the last few teams in the tournament.